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Author: Age Cymru
Published on 20 December 2012 09:30 AM

People in Wales are being urged to help older relatives and neighbours protect their homes from the misery of burst water pipes this winter.

Every year thousands of homes experience frozen water pipes which burst and cause inconvenience and big repair bills.

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Age Cymru have joined together to encourage relatives and neighbours to ensure that older people’s homes are protected from the risk.

The message is ‘Wrap Up Wales’ and help lag vulnerable people’s water pipes to prevent damage that can run into thousands of pounds – as well as the inconvenience of being without water.

Age Cymru’s Michael Phillips said:

“Burst pipes and flooded homes can be very distressing for older people.

“That’s why we are asking the public to ensure that the homes of older neighbours and relatives are protected by having pipes that are liable to freeze lagged and insulated.

“This is particularly important over the Christmas holiday period when many older people leave their homes to stay with relatives.

“Pipes could burst when they are away and cause a lot of damage before they return home.”

Welsh Water’s operations director Peter Perry said:

“Now is the time to take action before freezing weather causes burst pipes in the home that can mean being without tap water over the Christmas holiday period.

“Research by the Consumer Council for Water has shown that only one in ten people are aware of the risks of pipes freezing at their homes, and that means that thousands of Welsh homes could be landed with big repair bills this winter.

“Four people in 10 don’t know if their pipes are insulated against the cold and two thirds don’t know what to do if they freeze.”

Mr Perry explained that water in pipes that are exposed to very low temperatures, such as those in garages and outhouses, expands when it freezes, causing a burst when they thaw.

A repair is then urgently needed, at a time when it’s most difficult to find an available plumber – such as over the Christmas period.

“If you’re planning to visit family or friends and your home will be empty over the Christmas period you need to be sure that exposed water pipes are wrapped in insulation to protect them.

“Otherwise they could burst and you won’t know until you return home.

“Our message is Wrap up Wales and take action now to prevent a problem that can cause  a tremendous amount of inconvenience and expense – at the time of the year when you’d least want to face it.”

Welsh Water points out that last week the temperature dropped as low as minus 5 in some parts of Wales, and cold weather could return at any time.

Lagging kits are available at half price on the Dwr Cymru Welsh Water website or by calling 0844 324 0844.

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444